Get It Done

‘Get more writing done’ is a Google search that sends literally thousands of writers to this blog every single year. What’s more, countless Bang2writers lament to me they ‘never have enough time’. Because I am a prolific writer, Bang2writers will also ask me constantly me what ‘my secret is’ or how I ‘bend time’ too.

I’ve always told Bang2writers that writing lots is ‘just’ (!) down routine and time management … But recently I’ve decided to take specific note of what I do, in order to churn out those words so I might offer up more tangible tips for you to get more writing done.

Could it be …?

At first, I thought it might be because I have always been a freelance writer to some degree. Perhaps I can churn out words because of this? Well, practice makes perfect and all that, but I know lots of freelance writers who still complain they ‘don’t have enough time’ to write the novel or screenplay they always wanted. In fact, when I conducted a small straw poll of my friends and colleagues, turns out I know a lot of PROFESSIONAL WRITERS who would still want to get more words done. So — NOPE!

Maybe it’s because I have Mr C, who ‘gets’ me being a writer? This definitely helps, because he never kicks off about me having to work at night or weekends. But again, I know a lot of writers who are lucky enough to have supportive partners … Plus I churned out words even before I got married. On top of that, my kids definitely DON’T get that Mummy is working, so now what??

Then I thought it might be just what I’d always said – routine and time management. But then  I sat down and really worked out what my routine and time management was … I realised my system is pretty half-cocked!!! It changes daily and things land randomly on my desk all the time. I am constantly re-prioritising and fighting fires all the time. That’s a skill in itself, but it’s not great routine and time management. So another big fat NO!

So what the hell is it???

Just 1 Thing

I discovered it is just ONE thing I do differently! Seriously! Yet this *one thing* has unlocked the opportunity to CHURN OUT words and get my drafts done. Here it is, brace yourself:

I kill all ‘dead time’ in my life. But what is this?

Dead Time

We ALL have what I call ‘dead time’. Some examples:

  • Waiting for other people – appointments to be called; your kids to come out of school; friends to turn up; colleagues at meetings, etc
  • Breaks, lunches & loo stops – Lots of people NEED their breaks, especially if their job is especially stressful. But if yours isn’t, breaking for lunch, for a cigarette or even just to go to the loo is potential ‘dead time’.
  • Going somewhere – commuting is the obvious one here, but any journey anywhere can be ‘dead time’, especially if you’ve done it a million times, like the school run.
  • Repetitive behaviour – as humans, we often take up time doing stuff we’ve done before, either because we’re bored or because we find it comforting. But it is still ‘dead time’, so what if we didn’t? In my case, I NEVER, EVER, EVER watch TV programmes I have watched before. I turn the telly off and go do something else (like write!). But I bet you’ve watched certain episodes of say, The Simpsons, 10+ times. Now imagine all that time you could have written instead. Same goes for mindlessly scrolling through your timelines and profiles on social media.

Basically, if we added up all the ‘dead time’ in our lives that we can take advantage of, then writing can get done. More, next.

Cumulative Build Up

I’ve always been of the belief than one’s best writing is done by THINKING. This means you can be working even when you’re doing something else, such as your day job, looking after your kids, travelling, watching TV programmes you’ve watched before, whatever.

What’s more – writing notes or lines long hand to be typed up; or using tools

Every single minute adds up:

  • B2W Friend screenwriter and director Adrian Mead has been very open about how he wrote his first scripts on loo breaks.
  • I wrote my very first one back in the day one-handed on the backs of envelopes whilst breastfeeding my baby son.
  • Screenwriting Goddess Pilar Alessandra has even written a great book on writing during small chunks of time! It’s called The Coffee Break Screenwriter (‘How To Write Your Masterpiece Whilst Sitting On The Loo’ was probably taken, to be fair). Get it now!
  • There’s loads of tools now for writing on the go, especially when it comes to open source and/or cloud-based screenwriting and novel writing software (paid-for and free), but also apps.
  • Here’s a FREE app for iPhones where you can write your script like text messages (an Android version on its way, apparently).

Do Whatever It Takes

So, work out what you want to do and when by … and utilise everything in your arsenal to MAKE IT HAPPEN, including apps and software, as well as killing all that dreadead time.

Then you will get all the writing done you want. Honest!

Good Luck!

Here I am talking producer and screenwriter Naomi Beaty about productivity and strategies for getting your writing done. I will be writing ONE MILLION WORDS in 2018 — find out how I will get this objective done this year. Eeek!

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6 Responses to 1 Simple Tip To Help You Get More Writing Done

  1. Rafal Reyzer says:

    Thank you for this great post. I’ve used the “dead time” strategy for some time, but ultimately I dropped it. Why? Because it made me a bit anxious. Every time I was standing in line, or riding the bus there was this feeling – OMG I should write and use this downtime! But writing when your girlfriend is checking the shoe stores is not the most focused writing you’ll do. Now I schedule a good block of time and then sit with my hot beverage in a comfy chair and get my daily quota done.

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      You’re welcome Rafal – very true, it won’t work for everyone! Some people need a designated block of time to get the good stuff down (oooh er) and if you can get that, then great. For the people for which this is not possible though ‘dead time’ is a viable alternative 🙂

      • Amber says:

        I’m one of those! A beginning writer, and a new mom, it inspired me to know you have children and wrote your first script while breastfeeding! I have the great blessing of being a full time mom but mistakenly thought I would have plenty of time to write. Wrong. Not only is my child demanding, I find in the brackets of time I do have my brain is mush and I don’t seem to know how to have writers brain and mom brain simultaneously… so I default to (eyes cast down) scrolling Facebook. I know I can better utilize that time as you described… any more tips in this case?

        • Lucy V Hay says:

          Ah yes, mushy-mum-brain … know that feeling well, my friend! I would make a list of what you would like to get done IDEALLY and by when, then think about breaking it down into those ‘bitesize chunks’ I mention in the video at the bottom of the post with Naomi. Good luck!

  2. Carsten says:

    The best book on the topic is ´A Writer´s Time´ by Kenneth Atchity. He is brutally honest, when it comes to planning: “I don´t have time for it.” is no excuse. The day has 24hrs for all of us. It would be more honest to say “It is not important enough.” My favourite quote from his book is: “There is no lack time, just a lack of planning.”

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      TBH, this is also my experience. If you want to do something, you will MAKE time – even if it’s via tiny increments, minute by minute if necessary. I don’t know this book, so will check it out – ta!

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